The Play That Goes Wrong – 13 February, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
***** Comedy and theatre are my two favourite art forms which is why I treated my boyfriend and I to tickets to see the award winning The Play That Goes Wrong, which brilliantly combines the two, on its first night at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, as part of its UK tour.
The play tells the story of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society who are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, where everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The audience follow the accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences.
I can honestly say that the play was not only the funniest I have ever seen but also the best acted and directed proving that it takes an amazing amount of acting and acrobatic talent to make something look so terrible so perfectly, with the play featuring everything from the worse death trap of a set you’ve ever seen to everything any theatre company secretly dreads from stage fright and forgotten lines to misplaced props and last minute cast changes before an ending that will make you want to re-watch the climax of Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.
it’s hard to choose stand out performances from such a strong cast, especially when the set has the biggest starring role of all (massive thanks to set designer Nigel Hook) but I have to praise Graeme Rooney as Trevor (who reminded me perfectly of a art venue technician I previously worked with and in real life is one third of the best sketch act I’ve ever seen at the Edinburgh Fringe “The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek”), Katie Bernstein as stage hand Annie who behaved exactly as I would have done in her situation (especially in the first half), Jason Callender as Jonathan who played the most alive dead person I’ve ever seen, Edward Judge as Robert, whose character goes through more physical hell than the rest of the cast each performance and Alistair Kirton as Max, who perfectly combines naivety, over acting and campness whilst keeping the audience and his invisible dog on side. I also have to congratulate director Mark Bell for his incredible direction and writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields for getting the hilarious chaos on paper in the first place.
If you love comedy and theatre I advise you not to miss this show, though be careful if you sit in the front row, keep an eye on the technician and not just when he is on stage, don’t eat the raspberry ripple ice cream and hope the company re-run their previous performances soon including “The Lion and the Wardrobe” and “James and the Peach”.
The Play That Goes Wrong is on at Lyceum Theatre until Saturday 18 February. Tickets are available at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/the-play-that-goes-wrong or from the box office in person or on 0114 249 6000. The play then continues its UK tour at:
- Poole Lighthouse – 20 to 25 February
- Salisbury Playhouse – 27 February to 4 March
- Glasgow Theatre Royal – 6 to 11 March
- Milton Keynes Theatre – 13 to 18 March
- Leicester Curve – 20 to 25 March
- Wolverhampton Grand Theatre – 3 to 8 April
- Cardiff New Theatre – 11 to 15 April
- Cambridge Arts Theatre – 17 to 22 April
- Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre – 24 to 29 April
- Stoke on Trent Regent Theatre – 1 to 6 May
- Eastbourne Devonshire Park Theatre – 8 to 13 May
- Exeter Northcott Theatre – 15 to 20 May
- Leeds Grand Theatre – 22 to 27 May
- Llandudno Venue Cymru – 29 May to 3 June
- Salford Quays The Lowry – 5 to 10 June
- Norwich Theatre Royal – 12 to 17 June
- Birmingham Rep Theatre – 19 to 24 June
- Dublin Bord Gais Energy Theatre – 26 June to 1 July
- Nottingham Theatre Royal – 3 to 8 July
- Southampton Mayflower – 10 to 15 July
- Malvern Theatres – 17 to 22 July
- Plymouth Theatre Royal – 24 to 29 July
- Canterbury Marlowe Theatre – 31 July to 5 August
P.S. if you’re a fan of bad jokes visit the tour’s website at www.theplaythatgoeswrong.com for their joke of the day.